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HOCKEY: Allen Park tops Anderson to win Woodhaven Holiday Classic

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Over the Thanksgiving break, the Woodhaven hockey team upset Allen Park to win the Allen Park Thanksgiving Classic.

A month later the Jags returned the favor, knocking off Woodhaven in the Woodhaven Holiday Tournament in Friday’s semifinals and topping Anderson 4-2 in the finals.

It was the team’s second tournament win in a week and the first time the Jags had ever won the tournament. Host Woodhaven had won the past five years.

The game was decided in the second period after an early 1-1 tie after the first and a scoreless third.

Nick Fulton scored the game winner with a bounce in with 10:41 left to play in the second.

Dallas Shamie had the assist.

Three and a half minute later, the Titans made it a one-goal game when James Birmingham slapped a shot to the top corned that hit the post and bounced in. Tommy Ballard had the assist.

With 6:13 to go, Mike Dice added an insurance goal with a quick change of momentum. Down in the Jaguar zone, Sean Stephens had just made a big save to keep Allen Park ahead when the Jags turned around and worked the puck all the way down where Dice banged it in, unassisted.

“It was huge,” Allen Park Coach John Brithinee said. “People overlook a good save down in the defensive end and then we turn that and transition it to a goal in the offensive end.”

It was a tied game after the first 17 minutes with back to back goals.

The Jags struck first, almost five minutes in when David Pischke poked on in through traffic in front of the net on the power play. Nick Metropoulos assisted.

The Titans responded almost immediately when Ballard knocked one in, unassisted 45 seconds later.

The Jags took the lead for good early in the second period. The middle period started with Anderson on the power play after Allen Park was called for holding as the buzzer sounded to end the first. But it was the Jags who struck first when Metropoulos added a goal to his assist with the shorthanded score.

Brithinee was happy to add another tournament win to the season.

“It’s very exciting for the kids and very exciting for the program,” he said. “In high school hockey, these little tournaments, they’re the only real big thing you fight for besides regionals.

“You target these games and I was really pleased.”

Brithinee said the ice kept on slanting with momentum between the teams but his team did what they had to do to get the win.

Stephens was a big factor in the win for Brithinee.

“He did a fantastic job,” he said about his sophomore goalie. “I thought he was the player of the period in the third.

“They had a lot of good scoring chances and Sean was there to turn them away when they were really putting the heavy pressure on us and that’s what you need from a goalie. He stood really tall.”

Anderson Coach Pat Jesue was disappointed with the win, but pleased with his team’s effort.

“I thought they had the better effort than we did,” he said. “(But) I thought it was a good game from our club.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction and I think we’re starting to identify more hockey stuff. But I told them I think that Allen Park outworked them. They were the faster team (and) they had more jump on loose pucks.”

Jesue said it was a good experience for his team and was happy with the weekend’s effort.

“This is a D3 team that we’re gonna have to play along the way,” he said. “Obviously we’re using it as a measuring stick. We used last night against Monroe as a measuring stick.

“I think we played good in both games. I thought overall it was probably the best two games we played all season from front to back.”

Heading forward, Jesue said his squad will be focusing on being more detailed orientated and putting more traffic on the net.

Anderson hosts Riverview on Wednesday. The same night, the Jags host a very tough Trenton team.

“I’m not looking any further than that,” Brithinee said. “They’re the predominant power. They’ve got a very deep team (and) they’re the measuring stick.

“Can we go out there and compete with that. We’ll see on Wednesday.”

Last Updated: 1/5/2014 12:14:22 AM EST